National Lung Matrix Trial launched

The University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit is to be part of an innovative clinical trial to test a variety of medicines which could offer hope to patients who would otherwise have very limited treatment options.

Led by chief investigator Professor Gary Middleton, the trial will partner Cancer Research UK with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines to treat cancer.

Researchers will use the genetics of each lung tumour to identify small groups of patients who, because of the specific genetic changes causing their cancer, are more likely to benefit from a certain drug.

They will then look for signs of improvement, such as increased survival, tumour shrinkage or an alleviation of symptoms. Medicines that show promise in the small groups of patients may be fast-tracked into larger trials involving more patients with the same genetic changes. And new medicines can be added to the existing trial as new experimental treatments filter through from the lab.

For more details on the Matrix trial, see the Cancer Research website.